Thinking back to my childhood days of when I grew up in the 60s, 70s and as I grew into manhood in the 80s and 90s in New Jersey reminds me of a wonderful and profound time in my life. My mother, grandmother, aunts, uncles and all their children relocated to New Jersey from Pelham, Georgia when I was only two years old. Even if I didn’t know it then, I later realized that I grew up in an average, middleclass home. I lived with my mother, two older brothers, three younger sisters and a step father.
I literally grew up three blocks from the Hudson River. New York and New Jersey are in such close proximity to each other that I actually thought I could throw a rock that would land on New York. At night as I lay in bed, the last thing that I would see through my window was the Statue of Liberty; it was like I could reach out and touch it. Yes, it was just that close. Next to the Statue of Liberty is another national landmark called Ellis Island. Everyone should learn the history of Ellis Island.
Growing up in Jersey City was a multicultural experience for me. There were people from all walks of life. And in addition to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, there were also other famous landmarks that I had the privilege of visiting as a kid such as The World’s Fair, Bear Mountain, Museum of Natural History, Coney Island Amusement Park / Beach, Palisades Amusement Park as well as Bergen Point Amusement Park, to name a few.
I still have fond memories of the environment that I grew up in the nostalgia that I have of those days still brings a smile to my face. For example, in August of 2009, I was watching tele vision and I overheard the announcer saying that Tiger Woods and the PGA tour would be playing in Jersey City, New Jersey. I said to myself, “Golf in Jersey City.”
I tried to imagine the specific place they were talking about. Just the mere thought that Tiger Woods was going to be in my home city created a great feeling of excitement. I couldn’t wait to watch the event. You see when I was a kid, my friends and I played on every piece of the pavement in the city, so the fact that he was on my home turf was incredibly amazing to me. It really was nostalgic.